BERLIN- Stephen Decatur’s boys’ varsity basketball team’s dream of a possible state championship ended with a 65-51 loss in the 3A-South championship game last Friday, the Seahawks’ third game in as many days, in one of the most memorable runs in recent memory at the Berlin school.
The Seahawks withstood a furious comeback attempt by familiar rival Bennett in the region semifinals in its second game in two days last Thursday to reach the 3A-South the other sectional top-seed Westlake last Friday. However, the three tough games in three days and the nearly three-hour trip to Westlake in Charles County appeared to take its toll on the Seahawks, who fell, 65-51, on Friday.
Westlake led 17-11 after the first quarter and built the lead to 10 points at 23-13 in the second before the Seahawks began to rally back. Decatur cut the lead to just six points at 28-22 at the half. The Seahawks then scored the first six points of the third quarter to tie the game at 28-28 with a lot of time left. However, Westlake then rattled off 10 straight points to take the lead and essentially settle the issue once and for all.
Decatur continued to play hard down the stretch, but could not chip away at the Westlake lead and ultimately fell, 65-51. Randy DuPont led Decatur with 14 points, while Colen Gaynor scored nine and Tyler Hunter added eight. The Seahawks reached the 3A-South championship game after defeating Bayside rival Bennett, 79-70, at home on Thursday in one of the biggest games in recent memory at Decatur.
The Seahawks came out on fire and led 40-18 at the half. Decatur, led by the relentless duo of Hunter and Gaynor continued to build its lead throughout the third and led 61-33 with just over a minute left in the period and appeared to be cruising to the 3A-South region final.
However, Bennett was not done yet and made a dramatic comeback attempt in the fourth led by the school’s all-time leading scorer Kory Holden. Bennett went on an 11-2 run to start to fourth and cut the Seahawk lead to 19 points at 63-44. Suddenly, everything that had gone so right for Decatur for three quarters started to slip away as the Seahawks began turning the ball over and failing to make shots.
With 1:44 remaining, the Decatur lead had been cut to just eight at 73-65. At that point, tensions boiled over for the huge crowd that lined the edge of the court and spilled out into the hallway from the start. Once order was restored, the Seahawks withstood the late charge, made their important foul shots down the stretch in the final minute and pulled away for the 79-70 win. The loss to Westlake did little to tarnish what was otherwise a remarkable season for the Seahawks, who won the school’s first Bayside championship. With guard P.J. Copes the only senior on the team, the future looks bright for Coach B.J. Johnson’s young team, which is already pushing its “climb higher” slogan for next season.